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Old 09-29-2007, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

I've been looking into buying a decent gaming rig for a while now, and i have been considering whether high-end sli/crossfire is really useful, or a waste of hard-earned dough. What i'd be using the computer for is playing blue-ray/hd-dvd's, playing games like microsoft flight sim-x, oblivion, bioshock etc... So pretty much, an overall high end system.

Here's what i have lined up so far:
Two Ati 2900 GPUs (1gb version, not sure if its called the xt...?)
Intel e6850 (I hear it's better than the q6600 for gaming)
4 GB OCZ gold (2x2gb) @ 800mhz
700W PSU, undecided
Antec 900 case
Various HDDs, 320 GB Maxtor 7200 RPM will be used for running the games
ASUS PK5 Mobo

I chose the 2x ati 2900 because i'm going to be running most of my hd movies and tv shows on a 46" hdtv at 1900*1200, or whatever the native res is for hd programming. I'm also going to be running games at this resolution.

So my question to all of you is...

Is there anything in this rig that will not do the job?
And most importantly, are the two 2900s just a waste of cash?
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

Sounds good to me...at that resolution a dual GPU setup is probably the best solution. However I would choose 2 2900Pros to save a bit of cash. The 1gb 2900xt's are just a waste of money.

Also, I would choose a q6600 and clock it to 3+ghz....as simple as just setting the FSB to 333mhz...shouldn't have to touch voltages at all.
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

2900s pros? Those are the 512mb, correct? So i guess the 1gb ram just isn't really worth it at this point, but do you suspect that games are going to need more ram in the next 1-2 years? I'll probably re-upgrade in about 2 years so thats all i'll be needing this for.

And i dont really know a **** thing about overclocking...is it true that you can just set the FSB higher in bios?
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

Do not get the E6850. The quad will be way better for upcoming games and right now even a stock Q6600 is more then enough for any game that is not multi-threaded. Once games are multithreaded, the quad will pretty much have twice as much power

There are two versions of the 2900pro, 512 and 1gb (same with the XT.) The pro is just a slightly downclocked version of the XT and reportedly, it can overclock to above XT speeds quite easily. Although it just came out so availability/pricing isn't great. I'm not sure about whether 512 or 1gb would be better but I would probably say that 512 shouldn't hamper you too much in upcoming games.. Right now 512 isdefinitely enough.

And yeah a slight overclock (like to 3ghz) should be amazingly easy.. Just bump up the FSB and possibly change a couple settings (that are as simple as enable/disable). If you get a bad stepping you might have to increase the voltage a little but that's it.. After that you just test for stability and make sure your temps are ok.

You could also consider the Cooler Master 690 instead of the Antec which is cheaper and similar (possibly better?) in cooling performance (you'll have to add a few fans though.) I like the look of it a lot more as well and it is much more spacious + has much easier cable management. Although I read somewhere that for some reason you can't use IDE hard drives in the 690 (?) and that would be a problem if you're reusing old ones..

And unless I'm mistaken, I thought none of the p35 boards supported CF/SLI?
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Old 09-29-2007, 07:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfluffles View Post
And unless I'm mistaken, I thought none of the p35 boards supported CF/SLI?
The P35 supports crossfire but not SLI...also either go a low chip such as the E2180 and overclock the **** out of it until the good 45nm quad's come out or go quad right now.
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Old 09-29-2007, 08:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

SLI would be worth it at that resolution...especially 2 GTX's

although i dont recommed the antec 900 for a setup like that. heat will kill anything inside the case with 2 cards and an intel cpu. and im sure you will want to watercool eventually, and the 900 is not a good watercooling case.

i'd look into a lian li v2000, silverstone tj07, or mountain mods case.
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Old 09-29-2007, 10:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

1920 x 1200 gaming is a situation where i highly recommend SLi because if you wanna do future gaming.. you need the 2 vid cards separately loading the screen so you have better frames and no lag... i recommend to gtx's or XT's

if you want SLi: the 680i is the way to go (the eVGA one more specifically) if Crossfire is something you want: Choose a p35 Crossfire Board (just check that it has 2 PCI-e Ports because most of them don't)
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Old 09-30-2007, 01:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

Ya, you are in a situation where SLI/ Crossfire setups with mass amounts of video memory would be useful. Running at a resolution of that size while maintaining full detail textures can take advantage of Crossfire/ SLI. In all honesty for the money, right now the 6850 probably has a better price to performance ratio in games. But the Q6600 would be the better decision when looking at upcoming big titles supporting multi-threading (use of multiple cores)
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Old 09-30-2007, 05:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgcook View Post
SLI would be worth it at that resolution...especially 2 GTX's

although i dont recommed the antec 900 for a setup like that. heat will kill anything inside the case with 2 cards and an intel cpu. and im sure you will want to watercool eventually, and the 900 is not a good watercooling case.

i'd look into a lian li v2000, silverstone tj07, or mountain mods case.
The Antec 900 is a great case...if he stays aircooling it's an excellent choice, but I do agree that it's not the best watercooling case.

Also if you go with nvidia I suggest going with a cheaper 650i chipset for the motherboard and waiting to upgrade for the nforce 7-series. Personally, I think the 680i is a waste of money.
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Big-ticket sli / crossfire setups worth the money?

I'm probably going to be staying with aircooling, i'm not well versed on watercooling and i'd hope that dropping that much money on my hardware means it performs well enough on air !

So then, what i'm generally hearing is that the q6600 is a better choice than the e6850 for gaming. I'm not really going to be gaming a whole lot until mid 2008. It's probably also going to do better with multitasking? (ex: running video @ 1080p and then doing work on a different monitor)

I may hold out 2-3 months, so i guess by then the phenoms will be out...well let's hope AMD is back in the game =)
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